Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out

In the off chance that you are looking to do something productive with your free time this summer, give your resume a makeover!

HerCampus interviewed Alison Ordonez, Associate Director of Internships & Career Fairs at the CDC, to give you exclusive tips on how to make your resume pop.

Set yourself apart from rest of candidates for the position. Do this by thinking about what makes you a better fit than everyone else applying. There are so many people graduating from great schools with great GPA’s. What makes your extraordinary? Relate these things to the job you’re applying to. Consider inside and outside of the classroom, including cool classes, projects, trips, civic engagement, clubs, and anything that gives you that added value to the company.

Tailor your document the company the specific position you’re applying to. Research the company’s values and mission statement to see how you align with them. How can you highlight that?

Consider everything you’ve done, even that summer job working in a restaurant. Mention the transferable skills such as time management and client service that can help you beyond the restaurant.

Don’t have one standard resume and one standard cover letter. Read the job description, required skills, and any other information the company provides you. Then highlight matches between what the company is looking for and your skills and experiences.

Don’t follow samples. All of those handouts from the CDC, pristine Word templates, and online examples are no-goes. It’s perfectly fine and recommended that you find inspiration for aesthetics online and in templates, but don’t copy them exactly. And don’t just copy your roommate’s either! The key is to put your own style twist on it through changing the layout while following consistent rules (1 page, easy to read font, etc.).

Put your most important information on the top half. Think about it like the information above the fold in a newspaper. It should catch attention especially since the average time took reading one resume is only 6 seconds. You may have to reorder your information for each position you’re applying to since the most relevant experiences for the particular job should be at the top.

Know the industry. Industry dictates style, for example, if you’re applying for a marketing or advertising job, you may want to consider the design of your resume more heavily. Take this opportunity to show off your creativity but do not distract from the beef of your resume. Make it different, but keep it tasteful (no pink fonts or pictures). As for something like engineering, this industry is probably less flexible. An employer in this field is most likely looking for something detailed, clean and crisp.

PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. Be consistent with everything. If you use periods, keep using them! Pay extreme attention to detail. “It speaks volumes,” Alison said.

Beyond resumes, there are other ways to stand out. Follow up with not only a thank you email, but send a handwritten note card! It may seem silly, but this little gesture will go further than you think. Going the extra mile will pay off.